By David Solway
According to a confidential memo leaked to the Washington Free Beacon, political operative and founder of Media Matters David Brock “plans to use his numerous organizations to take down President Donald Trump through impeachment.” In an interview with The Spectator, former Carter appointee, Washington Post columnist and Brandeis professor Robert Kuttner tells us he is busy convening an “independent body of very reputable jurists and other blue-chip people” to assemble a “running dossier of impeachable abuses,” in an effort to render Trump another Nixon. Rep. Maxine Waters called for Trump’s impeachment even before his inauguration. “Hardball” host Chris Matthews was sympathetic to her brief, citing the BuzzFeed fake “dossier” about Trump’s alleged sexual hijinks in Moscow as grounds.
Brock and Kuttner are left-wing zealots prone to osteoporotic theories. Waters is a demonstrably eldritch woman who suffers from “Aleppo moments” and believes that the Russians are advancing in Korea. Matthews is a Democratic hack subject to fibular tickles. Their lack of intellectual credibility does not lessen the threat, since they are representative of the left’s intent to attack the electoral system and pursue a baseless vendetta against Trump.
More critically, there is also the threat of assassination. Trump’s presidential limousine, dubbed “The Beast,” equipped with bulletproof windows, tear gas cannon, shotgun, armor plating and other amenities, is an indication that he takes the menace seriously. Trump has come under fire for maintaining his private security team in addition to Secret Service protection, but this is an indication that he is fully aware of the risk he runs.
Who would attempt to assassinate Trump? A list of nine recent such threats, some by high-profile liberals, may be found on ClashDaily. There is as well a pool of lone crazies and politically motivated individuals and sects who roam the borderlands of civil life. Unpredictable, elusive, often unknown and vulnerable to the inflammatory rhetoric spewed by unhinged politicians and media Neanderthals, they are hard to defend against. A Muslim terrorist ramming a van loaded with explosives into Trump Tower is not a stretch. Additionally, there have been memes circulating in certain quarters that something called the Deep State is involved in the business of political assassination, just as there are rumors of mysterious deaths associated with the Clintons and Barack Obama.
The Deep State is defined in the Oxford as “A body of people, typically influential members of government agencies or the military, believed to be involved in the secret manipulation or control of government policy.” It certainly exists, in the same way that the Dark Web exists, as a kind of subterranean network of power-brokers, financiers, “banksters,” military men and high-level bureaucrats whose decisions affect both domestic and foreign policy. As John Smith (pseudonym of a former U.S. intelligence officer) warns in a prescient article for American Thinker, “a shadow war is going on.” We must not underestimate “the depth of the elite power broker penetration in our agencies.”
But does the range of the Deep State exceed its definition? Former intelligence agent Phillip Girardi sees the Deep State as far more nefarious in the scope of its veiled activities. Writing in The American Conservative, Girardi has no doubt about its covertly lethal and repressive actions. Although his accusations smack of left-wing paranoia, he is right about the existence of clandestine power groups. America itself is not a Deep State, but “there is an unelected, unappointed, and unaccountable presence within the system that actually manages what is taking place behind the scenes.”
Similarly, author of “The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government” Mike Lofgren and Berkeley emeritus Peter Dale Scott, author of “The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy,” define the Deep State as a clear and present danger, comprising inter alia the military-industrial complex, the Justice Department, the intelligence community, the Pentagon, Wall Street, the Treasury, Silicon Valley, Homeland Security and the mainstream media.
Trump obviously will have ties to the financial sector of the Deep State – how could a billionaire entrepreneur not have? – but he is plainly no Deep Stater. When Lofgren concluded his Salon interview on the subject, in which he claims that “We have a surveillance state, and we talk about freedom,” he fumbled an interesting and informative discourse by implicating Trump as someone who is “selling us … fascism with a populist camouflage.” This is standard anti-Trump fare and a sign of ideological blindness. It is clear from Trump’s various statements – on Hillary, on Israel, on the U.N., on NATO, on Germany, on immigration – and from the quality and nature of his appointees that he is determined, to the best of his ability, to take on the Deep State.
As for Scott, he is a typical Berkeley atavism who never emerged from the anti-militarism 1960s. His solution to the American Deep State is to “progressively phase out the violent aspects of the so-called war on terrorism, reduce America’s bloated military and intelligence budgets and return to strategies for dealing with the problem of terrorism that rely primarily on civilian policing and intelligence.” Of course, as we have learned since the publication of his book three years ago – and as we should have known at the very least since 9/11 – his prescriptions are embarrassingly vacuous. But he fears that Trump, as an outsider to the shadow government that rules America and eliminates or sidelines its enemies, may suffer the same fate as JFK.
As Roger Simon writes in PJ Media ,”Threatened as never before, all aspects of this ‘deep’ – therefore not very democratic – ‘state’ have done their best to wound Trump in every possible way before the inauguration.” Is the Deep State involved in furtive ventures of a violent nature, or is it too diffuse a conglomerate to organize targeted operations? Difficult to say, and one does not want to embrace conspiracy theories. The Deep State, however, is octopal, its tentacles everywhere. The most plausible scenario is that the Deep State will mobilize its formidable resources to thwart Trump at every turn in order to promote its own interests. Whether it will do worse, as Girardi and others fear, remains an open question.
Resorting to the emoluments clause of the Constitution or the canard of Russian collusion or deficiency of presidential integrity or what have you, only dimwitted ideologues can urge Trump’s impeachment and equally dimwitted legislators take it at face value. It is possible but not probable. But the threat of assassination is alarmingly real, and Trump will have to be vigilant throughout his presidency. He will have to fight the Deep State tooth and nail if his presidency is to be successful, and he will need to be armor-plated to resist the onslaught that is bound to come.
David Solway is a Canadian poet and essayist. His latest book is “Reflections on Music, Poetry & Politics.”